The German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE), Bonn, Germany, The Institute for Policy Research (IPR), University of Bath, UK, and the Economic Research Forum (ERF), Cairo, Egypt announce a joint call for papers for two Panels at the 5th World Congress for Middle Eastern Studies (WOCMES), Seville/ Spain, 16-20 July 2018.
Title: Building prosperity through sound economic policies in MENA: Industrial Policy, Growth, Investment, Informality, and International Trade
Discipline: Economic policies
Panel Organiser Institutions:
The Arab Spring left behind severe frustrations for the masses in the MENA region. Civil wars have since sparked in Libya, Syria, Yemen and Iraq. Egypt is moving away from the goal of a market economy. The fall in oil prices has caused a sharp drop in the Gulf countries’ current and future wealth. Economic reforms in Jordan, Algeria, and Morocco are stalling creating challenges for both sets of countries. Iran and Turkey face economic challenges of their own. Even Tunisia struggles in its transition to democracy and its transformation into a dynamic economy.
What reforms can and should these countries adopt given the mounting pressure of a bulge of unemployed and frustrated youth. What are the features of an inclusive Industrial Policy that promotes growth in the region? How can the framework conditions be improved to ensure growth and productivity enhancing structural transformation that balances between jobless versus penniless growth? How is trade policy involved and how can the trend of labour transition into low-productivity informal sectors be curbed? What role can multilateral and bilateral donors play in the regions’ efforts to achieve for sound economic policies. What role can they play to boost investment and trade in the region?
Title: Social policies in MENA countries: Do they pursue social, economic or political goals?
Discipline: Economic and social development
Panel Organiser Institutions:
The current interest in social protection in the MENA region sparks a wider debate about the nature of social contracts and social policies there. The aim of this panel is to interrogate the nature of these conceptual and policy linkages further because social policies play a key role in the development of every country by virtue of them having not only social but also economic and political functions. Their social function is to guarantee a minimum standard of living for everybody and thereby reduce multidimensional poverty and inequality. Their economic function is to prevent people from falling into poverty because of risks such as old age, illness or unemployment. As such, social protection systems also encourage people, even those with limited income, to invest their savings in better means of production or human capital instead of hording them in case a risk occurs. In this way, they promote pro-poor growth. And the political function of social protection is to alleviate peoples’ concerns about the future, contributing to their general satisfaction and stabilising the political system. Papers presented in the panel “Social policies in MENA countries: Do they pursue social, economic or political goals?” discuss to what degree the social policies of MENA countries fulfil their three functions: How effective are they in fighting multidimensional poverty and inequality? How well do they protect vulnerable people and help them to engage more in economic activities? How do they do in strengthening social inclusion and social cohesion? Are they well-tailored to the needs of people? Or do they mainly serve the political interests of those who have set them up: authoritarian governments, religious NGOs, international donors? Papers exploring contemporary or past policies are welcome as well as both qualitative and quantitative methodologies. We also encourage think pieces, which can offer new ideas about the potential way forward for research in this field.
The German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE), Bonn and the Economic Research Forum (ERF), Cairo, Egypt announce a joint call for papers for a panel at the 5th World Congress for Middle Eastern Studies (WOCMES), Seville/ Spain, 16-20 July 2018.
Title: “New social contracts for MENA countries: political settlement and societal reconstruction”
Discipline: political science & philosophy, sociology, contemporary area & development studies, international relations
Panel Organiser Institutions:
German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE), Bonn
Economic Research Forum (ERF), Cairo Egypt
The Arab spring has demonstrated that the “old social contracts” have defaulted in MENA countries: These old contracts worked on the basis of governments (‘the state’) providing basic services to many, economic privileges and political access to some (‘regime cronies’) while in exchange, citizens could not claim much of real representation (or ‘voice’) in government – let alone accountability. Six years into the revolutionary process that started in 2011, the region suffers from the deterioration of means for generating political legitimacy, with few exceptions.
Defining (or redefining) the social contracts is perhaps the most important task for a country emerging from revolutionary upheaval and violent conflict. At its most fundamental level, ‘social contract’ refers to the basic – if only implicit – agreement among the groups that make up a society about how political decisions are taken and economic resources distributed. Eventually, state or proto-state institutions are needed for the provision of individual security, collective stability and guidance for social and economic development. But before governments can legitimately offer these things, a new social contract defining terms for state-society and intra-societal relations needs to be settled – formally or at least implicitly.
This is primarily a domestic process, in that the social contract needs to emerge from the societies themselves, through the development of norms of peaceful cooperation rather than violence in managing conflicts over decision-making powers and the distribution of resources. There is a role for international norms (as the Sustainable Development Goals, in particular SDG16 ‘building inclusive societies’) and for international actors as well (regional and global ones). For external actors there is a role in providing material and moral support, guidance, technical capacity and incentives to national settlement and peacebuilding processes. As can be observed in the MENA region, the role of external actors can be either positive or destructive to the emergence of a social contract.
Papers in this panel address three fundamental questions. First, what is required of a social contract in order that it provide for peaceful transformation of state-society and intra-societal relations? Second, with reference to fragile and conflict-affected countries in the MENA region, how can a social contract emerge when key social actors do not recognize the government as legitimate? Third, what changes are likely to be required for different social groups to engage in peaceful relations with each other and/or the state, and what changes can different MENA states realistically offer? In addition, by inviting panelists from the region in particular, the discussions shall be used to explore a) the compatibility of the emerging concept of the ‘social contract’ with local contexts (both normative and empirical) and b) its usefulness – either as an analytical tool or as a normative reference (e.g. in Rojava/Syria).